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Groves v. State

Court of Appeals of Idaho

April 21, 2014

RBRT GROVES, aka ROBERT GEORGE GROVES, III, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IDAHO, Respondent

2014 Opinion No. 31

Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Jerome County. Hon. John K. Butler, District Judge.

Order dismissing petition seeking exemption from registration as a sex offender, affirmed.

Fuller Law Offices, Twin Falls, for appellant. Daniel S. Brown argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Cheryl Emmons-Meade, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Cheryl Emmons-Meade argued.

WALTERS, Judge Pro Tem. Judge GRATTON and Judge MELANSON CONCUR.

OPINION

[156 Idaho 553] WALTERS, Judge Pro Tem

Page 533

Under the Sexual Offender Registration Notification and Community Right-to-Know Act (SORA),[1] Robert[2] Groves is required to register as a sex offender because he was convicted of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen. Under the law applicable at the time of his conviction, Groves would have been eligible to petition for an exemption from the duty to register after serving his sentence. But, before Groves was able to petition for an exemption, the law was amended to prohibit those convicted of lewd conduct from being granted an exemption. When Groves sought an exemption, the district court ruled that the amendments were to be applied retroactively and denied Groves's request for an exemption. On appeal, Groves argues that the retroactive application of the amendments is unconstitutional. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

On May 22, 2000, Groves pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen in violation of Idaho Code § 18-1508. On July 17, 2000, Groves was sentenced to a unified term of ten years in prison with five years fixed. However, the court retained jurisdiction pursuant to I.C. § 19-2601(4). After the term of retained jurisdiction ended, the court placed Groves on probation for ten years. After the ten years elapsed, Groves was discharged from probation on July 7, 2011. As an additional consequence of his conviction, Groves was required to register as a sex offender unless granted an exemption from the duty to register. I.C. § § 18-8304, 18-8307, 18-8310.

Page 534

[156 Idaho 554] In 2013, Groves filed a petition to be exempted from registration requirements pursuant to I.C. § 18-8310. In support of his petition, he submitted an affidavit stating that he had completed probation, had paid all fees, had not committed additional sex offenses, had undergone sex offender treatment, and had been deemed a low risk to reoffend. The district court held that although Idaho Code § 18-8310 generally authorizes the court to exempt a sex offender registrant from the duty to register, the court may not provide this relief to " an offender who has been convicted of an aggravated offense." I.C. § 18-8310. Idaho Code § 18-8303 defines " aggravated offense" to include lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen. On this basis, the court ordered Groves to show cause why his petition should not be dismissed.

In response to the order to show cause, Groves argued that the denial of his petition would violate the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the United States and Idaho Constitutions. The provisions cited by the district court were not the provisions in effect when Groves was convicted. Indeed, under the law applicable at the time of Groves's conviction, he would have been able to seek relief under I.C. ยง 18-8310. Groves did not claim that the court erred by concluding that the amendments had retroactive effect; he concedes that Idaho courts have ruled that the amendments are applied ...


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